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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Blackberrys may spur overtime lawsuits

Should you get paid overtime if a demanding boss e-mails while your getting ready for bed and wants an answer immediately? Good question.

An article in NLJ today says many lawyers are telling employers to make an overtime policy as the popularity of hand-held devices is booming in the workplace, allowing wired-up employees to work anywhere, anytime.

Attorneys believe a new wave of wage-and-hour litigation is just around the corner, where employees will claim overtime for all the hours they've spent clicking away on their BlackBerrys or other hand-held devices.

April Boyer of Miami's Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis, a management-side law firm, said she has helped several clients add BlackBerry-use policies to their existing computer policies. Boyer believes that complaints about unpaid BlackBerry time will likely emerge from discontented workers. "Usually you don't hear about it until you have a disgruntled employee. They can tally up an enormous list of alleged hours worked and the employer is in a difficult position trying to defend what the actual hours worked were," Boyer told NLJ.

The advice some lawyers doled out:

* Require that employees get permission first before using their BlackBerrys after work hours.

* Consider anytime a non-exempt employee (someone entitled to overtime) is using their BlackBerry for the benefit of the employer is compensable time — period.

Most of us do what we need to do to get our jobs done. And, let's be's not always within the time frame of our specified work hours. But I guess if I was spending a great deal of after hours time on my BlackBerry for work and a manager abused expectations, I might want to be paid for the time. Your thoughts?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is an excellent topic. It is unfair to have pushy/unsensitive bosses expecting after hour immediate answers, only to find later you are "underperforming" in your review so they wont pass along well deserved raises. BB time should start to be treated as overtime pay. Either way the corporate B.S. wont give you the money, so I am all for employees start demanding it.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm guessing a majority of BB users (like myself) are salaried anyway. How many of us bring home our laptop? Honestly, I'm okay with the after hours stuff because I can telecommute too :)

7:21 PM  

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